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Entries from December 21, 2008 - December 27, 2008

Children at the podium presentation

I am WAY getting into this photo manipulation stuff! I snapped this pic of the Elite podium presentation in Schriek Grootlo in January this year. The kid on the scoot bike is Arne Dahlmans son (who won that day). It was a throwaway pic as it was way too dark and in color, etc. I washed it through photoshop, lightened things up and saw things I'd never noticed before! Check out the grandmas laughing, The boys staring in awe, the two kids on the left staring at the other kids. I love it. New life for old pics I thought were crap!

Trouble-a-brewin in Belgium! Masters World champ challenged!

Uh oh, drama folks! Looks like my friend Edwin Raats, Masters racing 'hard man' from The Netherlands, tried in vein to challenge the participation of Ludovic Dubau in last year's Master's Worlds in Mol. I paraphrased the translation below for you from an article in Belgian Cycling Selection.

29 November 2008, Edwin Raats still with empty hands
SOURCE:
www.belgiancyclingselection.be
It's [nearly a year] now after the world masters cyclocross championship in Mol and Edwin Raats has thrown in the towel as a result of his complaint against the irregular participation of Ludovic Dubau [in the 2008 January race]. Dubau won this world championship indeed, but there was serious doubt if he, however, belonged in the masters category. Dubau as an example rode as an elite racer in A1 the cyclocross in Roubaix just before the master's worlds, and briefly stood in the top 200 at the UCI ranking for Elite cyclocross racers.

Edwin, with the UCI rule to his side, complained against this irregular participation which cost him the world title in Mol in January. We supported Edwin Raats point of view; the world championships for masters belong to the pure amateur sportsman, to them that Elite racers have chosen consciously to race for the master's [trophee]. In spite of his sound complaint, Edwin still has not received an answer from the UCI and of the Dutch KNWU, which him would have support in its matter, he experiences little good will here make work, for them it is purely a master category issue. It is sad note that this complaint no longer gets attention from the UCI, and this dipute and hs already dragged on way too long.

Finally it concerns here, however, the world title. Edwin is tired of this fight and wishes now to be able put energy in the sport himself. However, he remains with a sour feeling: "Apparently the sport-loving value of the World Championships is [sucked out] and seems its more and more a commercial matter. I have 23 years with a permit at the KNWU/UCI and have considerable experience in this sport. With much pleasure I have raced for years in the amateur and masters, all [us] boys with the same context and the same objective. It's our game, and no aubaine (translation: 'cherry picking) by the inferior elite racers."

Small [closing] detail: In November our master Dubau took 3rd in the A2 cyclocross at Marle, behind Mourey and Vervecken. Master for 1 day?

So Edwin is taking one for the team I guess but has clearly created a stir. So for all you folks heading over to Mol this year, best of luck. It's a knife fight against hardened pros.

What'ya mean there's no more 'cross?

Indeed it is that time of year. Oy. Sort of like when a TV show ends with a To be continued... ALWAYS a bummer. I've got all this restless energy still and not sure if I should do pre-work intervals or maybe just go and spin around and do wheelies on my single speed. I'm a bit lost. There's a race on the 3rd, but not even sure where I'll be at that time this January. This time last year, it was frenetic. Trying to maintain fitness between the last Colorado race and going to Belgium.

So with all this restlessness, I decided to reflect a little on the season. All-in-all, I can't complain. 8th overall and a enough top 10's to satiate, but I know that I have a couple of surprises left in the legs. The Firecracker 50 just isn't enough for training for 'cross. Ha! The summer was spent with my head far far away from bikes, and when I came rushing into the 'cross season, it was done so with a complete 'Hmm, let's just see where you end up' kind of attitude. No expectations, just flow. And so it was. I think that with the exception of my barrier clippings at Xilinx and Chatfield, the cleanliness goal was met. The racing was done with no technical issues...rolled tires, failures, flats, weak lines, bad technique....and I think I rolled as smoothly as I have ever. So, I had that going for me this season...

What's next? Each year....even after a decade of racing our sport...I strive for better. Each year I spend the first 1/2 of the year contemplating the changing of the leaves. This contemplation starts from the time I clean the bikes after their last race and hang up the tubulars for their winter/spring hiatus until mid summer when I start taking the bikes down of their hooks, re-fill the tires and just feel the bikes again. Each year I take 'em down a bit earlier. Each year I say to myself, can you go at this again? Can you get closer to hands in the air? Can you continue to balance?

I think it's longing that keeps me alive.